Did Grey's Anatomy Just Reveal The Reason For Jackson And April's Return?

James Pickens Jr. as Richard Webber on Grey's Anatomy
(Image credit: ABC)

Spoiler alert! This story contains spoilers for the Season 18 episode of Grey’s Anatomy, “I’ll Cover You.” Consider yourself warned.

Back in Season 14 of Grey’s Anatomy, a number of the surgeons at Grey Sloan Memorial accidentally ingested weed cookies given to them by a patient. Hilarity ensued as Jackson Avery rambled about perfect vaginas, including his mother Catherine’s, and April Kepner couldn’t stop giggling. As Season 18 winds to an end, the latest episode “I’ll Cover You” made a nod to that episode, with Richard being the one this time around to accidentally ingest a cannabis smoothie. Hilarity again ensued, but this time, a tragic reveal in the episode’s final minutes might have just clued the audience in to what brings Jackson and April back to Seattle.

Meredith took on the task of babysitting Richard after he drank one of the smoothies that Catherine had in their refrigerator, and after everything Richard has been through with the “Webber method” and the residency program, it was kind of fun to watch him ponder whether something was “a really big fish or a really small bear.” However, when Richard confronted his wife about the smoothie, asking how she could put his 10 years of sobriety at risk by having drugs in the house, Catherine dropped a bomb:

It’s for my pain. My cancer has progressed, baby.

Since the news broke that Jesse Williams and Sarah Drew were reprising their fan-favorite roles on ABC’s hit medical show, fans have wondered what occasion would bring them back to Seattle, as they moved to Boston so Jackson could head the Catherine Fox Foundation. With just one episode remaining before their return, it seems unlikely that the timing of Catherine’s admission to Richard is a coincidence. 

This is a huge blow for fans, who were really looking forward to celebrating the return of Japril (and getting an update on their relationship). If Jackson is coming back because his mother is sick, that really puts a damper on the party. 

In Season 15, Catherine underwent surgery for a very aggressive cancer, and while they were able to get enough of it out that her life wasn’t in imminent danger, they weren’t able to get all of it, and Catherine made peace with the fact that she would likely live with cancer for the rest of her life. 

Amelia and Tom were the surgeons who saved Catherine’s life the first time, and even though Greg Germann left the show in Season 17, he has already made a guest appearance as Tom Koracick in Season 18. Will they be able to save Catherine again?

Only one episode remains before Grey’s Anatomy’s big Season 18 finale, which also coincides with the series’ 400th episode. It all starts at 9 p.m. ET on Thursday, May 19, following the season finale of Station 19 on ABC. As many series are in the midst of their spring finales, be sure to check out our 2022 TV schedule to see what shows are premiering soon!

Heidi Venable
Content Producer

Heidi Venable is a Content Producer for CinemaBlend, a mom of two and a hard-core '90s kid. She started freelancing for CinemaBlend in 2020 and officially came on board in 2021. Her job entails writing news stories and TV reactions from some of her favorite prime-time shows like Grey's Anatomy and The Bachelor. She graduated from Louisiana Tech University with a degree in Journalism and worked in the newspaper industry for almost two decades in multiple roles including Sports Editor, Page Designer and Online Editor. Unprovoked, will quote Friends in any situation. Thrives on New Orleans Saints football, The West Wing and taco trucks.